Firstly, this is my first post on here but I have been looking over this forum for a loooong time now. I thought I would post my trip plan on here and hopefully get some tips :) Me and my girlfriend leave on 11th February for a 13 week trip, flying home on 13th May. We will be flying into Bangkok and plan to spend 4 nights there to start with. Afterwards the rough plan goes something like this but will probably go out the window!...
Bangkok - Chiang Mai - Luang Prabang - Vientiane - 4000 islands - Kratie (Overnight stop) - Siem Reap - Battambang - Phnom Penh - Saigon - Da Lat - Hoi An - Hanoi - Halong Bay and Cat Ba Island - (Flight from Hanoi to Kuala Lumpur ) - Kuala Lumpur - Cameron Highlands - Penang - Perhentian Islands - Tioman Islands - (Flight from Johor Bahru to Kota Kinabalu) - Kota Kinabalu - Kuching - Singapore - Fly home from Kuala Lumpur.
Phew...it sounds a lot when I write it like that but as I say it is not in anyway fixed. I anticipate we will love some places and want to stay longer and miss out on others. Both me and my girlfriend are looking for a good mix of culture and nature along with a good chance to socialise but we aren't looking for the party 'gap year experience'. Are there any on that list that you would give a miss from experience or ones I have missed which are a must? I am aware the Southern Thai Islands arent on our list, but we felt we would rather take in some malaysian islands might find the thai islands pretty ott tourist wise?
Flight wise I planned on using air asia and booking a flight from hanoi to kuala lumpur about 2 weeks in advance when we are traveling through Vietnam. Similarly, for internal malaysian flights I planned on booking when in Malaysia. The saving on booking early doesn't really warrant the loss of freedom in my eyes. Any thoughts?
Lastly, are there any guesthouses in these places people would particularly recommend? We don't mind roughing it a bit but would prefer a decent level of comfort where possible. Does the walk in price usually match that on booking in advance? I am aware sometimes this isn't possible though.
Sorry this has been such a long post! Would appreciate any help :)
Sounds like a great trip to me. You've got some pretty long travel lengths in there and may want to consider breaking it up a little more - eg Perhentians to Tioman, Vientiane to 4,000 islands, I'd also fit in Hue between Hoi An and Hanoi.
Re booking flights, it's a hard call -- the savings can be substantial -- I've paid as little as $90 for Bali to Bangkok through to $400 for a ticket I had to buy at the last minute...
On booking online vs doing walkins and bargaining it varies. There is no hard and fast rule -- I've found the savings found through booking online to be more in Thailand than Malaysia, but that is just based on my own travels...
#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,738
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hi there i plan on doing the same trip with my gf we go in october and come back in march how much money do u think i should save for this trip?
#3 meacham has been a member since 16/1/2013. Posts: 11
I know you have a limited time and maybe aren't filling in all the blanks between - but for a nice stop off before 4,000 islands I'd recommend a night in Pakse followed by renting motorbikes out to Tad Lo to check out some of the falls (but more for the journey than the destination) and a friendly little town. I preferred Tad Lo to Paksong personally, so I'd say spending a hand full of nights on that would be nice - though ou could do the short Bolavan Plateau loop of Tad Lo to Paksong and back to Pakse in 3/4 nights easily. As well, I happen to think Champasak is one of the most charming towns I've visited in Southeast Asia and a good warm-up to Siem Reap - I would recommend stopping there for 2 nights. It was a more charming than 4,000 Islands, though I wouldn't say anything bad about 4,000 Islands.
In Pakse I'd recommend https://www.travelfish.org/accommodation_profile/laos/southern_laos/champasak/pakse/all/1659
In Champasak https://www.travelfish.org/accommodation_profile/laos/southern_laos/champasak/champasak/all/1667
I know - you probably didn't want MORE places to think about.
I've found some fairly good deals through Agoda in Malaysia - though in my opinon Malaysia is more expensive than most places in SE Asia (especially for drinks and accommodation).
In KL - I recommend staying around Bukit Bintang - around Jalan Sahabat (Sahabat Guesthouse is nice) and Tropical Guesthouse on Jalan Tong Shin is popular - though my #1 pick in the area is Anggun.
If you already visit Perhentian, skip Tioman. It's not as nice as Perhentian and you would be disappointed. Spend the extra time in Malaysian Borneo, where there is a lot to see.
#5 alfredm has been a member since 6/1/2013. Posts: 11
Thank you for all your replies. Much appreciated!
I have considered skipping tiomans and I do like the sound of spending more time in Laos and champasak!
The main thing i was putting the tiomans in was because of traveling down the eastern side before flying air Asia from Johor Bahru to Kota Kinabalu?